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When Is Watermelon Ripe?

Picking a ripe watermelon is not the easiest thing to learn, but there are indicators to look for.


Watermelon mature rapidly during hot weather. Most are ripe about 32 days after blooming.


Deciding when to harvest a melon is most difficult early in the season when vines are green and healthy.


Some indicators of a watermelon’s maturity are: tendrils or pigtails on vines change from green to brown, the ground spot on the belly of the melon turns from white to yellow, and the thumping sound changes from a metallic ringing when immature to a soft hollow sound when mature.


Watermelons should be handled carefully to avoid rolling, bumping or dropping and thus prevent internal bruising of the flesh.


Store watermelons at temperatures ranging from 60 to 70 degrees F. Temperatures below 50 degrees or above 90 degrees for extended periods will increase flesh deterioration. Once the melon is cut, it can be refrigerated in wedge form or in small chunks in plastic-covered containers.


Good quality melons are usually firm, symmetrical in shape, fresh, attractive in appearance and of good color. The external rind color may vary from deep solid green to gray, depending on the variety.


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Gardening Tip of the Day

  • If you received a flowering amaryllis plant for the holidays, you can make it bloom again next year around the holiday time.

    After the flowers fade, cut just the flower stalk to about 2 inches above the soil level. Continue watering when soil becomes dry. Regularly fertilize the plant with a houseplant formula such as 5-5-5 or 5-10-5 following directions on the fertilizer package. After about six months of allowing the foliage to grow, stop fertilizing and begin to reduce watering over a 2- to 3-week period. After this period, stop watering. Eliminating water and fertilizer allows the bulb to enter a dormant or resting phase. Move the pot to a dry, cool (50 to 60 degrees F.) room that has good ventilation for 2 to 3 months.

    Sometime in early November, move the pot to a bright, warm spot and renew watering. In anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks, the amaryllis should flower again.